Spain’s football federation has ordered a five-game partial stadium ban at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium following racist abuse suffered by Real Madrid star Vinícius Jr. during the teams’ La Liga match there on Sunday. The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) also announced a fine of €45,000 (around $48,489) for the incident and rescinded the red card shown to Vinícius Jr. on the basis that the referee and video assistant officials did not take into account the actions of two Valencia players, Hugo Duro and Giorgi Mamardashvili. According to the match official’s report from Valencia’s 1-0 win over Madrid on Sunday, a fan had shouted “monkey, monkey” at Vinícius Jr. during the second half.
Video footage of the match from DAZN España also shows that the Real Madrid star was subjected to various other racist insults throughout the game. “It is considered proven, as reflected by the referee’s official report, that there were racist chants against Real Madrid player Vinícius, during that match, altering the normal action in the game, and considered very serious infractions,” the statement, posted to the federation’s website on Tuesday, said.
Valencia has the right to appeal the decision, which was handed down by RFEF’s Competition Committee. The section of the stadium to be closed are the southern stands, known as the Mario Kempes seating area, according to the release. Valencia released a statement on Tuesday saying that it expressed “its total disagreement and indignation at the unjust and disproportionate sanction” and that it will fight the decision. The rescinding of the red card means that Vinícius will be available to play in Los Blancos’ match Wednesday at home against Rayo Vallecano. It is expected that the Santiago Bernabéu faithful will show him their support in the 20th minute – the star forward wears the No. 20 shirt – of the match. Vinícius Jr’.s Brazilian compatriot Raphinha, who plays for Real Madrid’s bitter rival Barcelona, showed solidarity with his countryman during the league champion’s Tuesday night game against Real Valladolid. After scoring the second goal of the game for his team, he revealed a message on an undershirt, reading, “Until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes, there will be war” in Portuguese.
Vinícius has been subjected to racist abuse from the stands on numerous occasions during La Liga matches over the past two seasons, and seven people were arrested on Tuesday in relation to incidents of racist abuse directed at the Real Madrid star this season. Spanish police said four young men had been detained for allegedly hanging an effigy of Vinícius off a bridge in Madrid in January, while three others were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the racist insults aimed at the Brazilian during Sunday’s match against Valencia. Both incidents are being treated as hate crimes. Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva came to Vinícius’ defense on Monday, saying that it’s “not possible that almost in the middle of the 21st century, we have racial prejudice gaining strength in several football stadiums in Europe. “I think it is important that FIFA, the Spanish league, and leagues in other countries take real action because we cannot allow fascism and racism to dominate football stadiums,” he added. Meanwhile, the lights at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue were turned off to show solidarity with Vinícius on Monday.